Donald Trump Pleads Not Guilty to 34 Felony Counts
10th April 2023

The former POTUS faces a New York judge to answer scores of charges related to an alleged $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 American presidential race.

AceShowbizDonald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records during his historic arraignment. On Tuesday, April 4, the former president of the U.S. faced a New York judge to answer scores of charges related to an alleged $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of his victorious 2016 American presidential race.

Sitting alongside his defense team, which was at least four strong, at the Manhattan Criminal Court with his hands folded on his lap as he became the first ex-US president to face criminal charges, Trump said when asked how he pleaded, “Not guilty”. The charges of falsifying business records in the first degree carry a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison under New York law – a highly unlikely sentence for the former commander-in-chief.

A “state of facts” released by the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a scheme” with other individuals to “influence the 2016 presidential election” by “identifying and purchasing negative information about him to suppress its publication and benefit the Defendant’s electoral prospects”. Trump’s hearing lasted around an hour and judge Juan Merchan did not put a gag order on the businessman, but did warn him not to post anything on social media that could cause unrest.

However, on his way to the court as his motorcade drove him from Trump Tower to downtown Manhattan, Trump had ranted on his Truth Social platform his indictment was “surreal”. He also called for District Attorney Alvin Bragg to prosecute himself after he allegedly handed the plans for Trump’s indictment to Yahoo journalist Michael Isikoff.

Trump ranted, “Wow! District Attorney Bragg just illegally LEAKED the various points, and complete information, on the pathetic Indictment against me. I know the reporter and so, unfortunately, does he. This means that he MUST BE IMMEDIATELY INDICTED. Now, if he wants to really clean up his reputation, he will do the honorable thing and, as District Attorney, INDICT HIMSELF. He will go down in Judicial history, and his Trump Hating wife will be, I am sure, very proud of him!”

Trump went on, “D.A. BRAGG JUST ILLEGALLY LEAKED THE 33 points of Indictment. There are no changes or surprises from those he leaked days ago directly out of the Grand Jury. No Crime by Trump. What a MESS. Bragg should resign, NOW!”.

Trump is set to return to his Mar-a-Lago home and speak about his indictment on Tuesday night, at around 8.15pm ET. His next court appearance is set for 4 December. During the hearing, judge Merchan ordered both sides to calm down after prosecutors complained about Trump’s recent social media posts, including one of him holding a baseball bat against the head of the top prosecutor in the case.

The judge told the court, “I’d encourage counsel for both sides to speak to your witnesses, defense counsel speak to your client and remind them to please refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence and civil unrest. Refrain from engaging in conduct which has the potential to incite violence or create civil unrest. Don’t engage in words or conduct which could jeopardise the rule of law as it applies to these proceedings in this courtroom.”

Even though Trump avoided being handcuffed for his formal arrest, he was fingerprinted as part of his appearance at the Manhattan court. He did not have to pay bail in order to be released.

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